Kernel Advancements, Microsoft Linux News Kept Open-Source Fans Entertained In May

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 2 June 2020 at 05:00 AM EDT. 1 Comment
During the month of May on Phoronix were 252 original news articles and 20 featured Linux hardware reviews / benchmark specials written by your's truly. This included some surprising announcements from Microsoft, Linux 5.7 getting wrapped up and Linux 5.8 features being firmed up ahead of the now-open merge window, AMD Renoir mobile being a big success, and other milestones for open-source software.

Below is a look at the most popular news and featured articles on Phoronix for the month of May. As a quick PSA beforehand and friendly reminder, this Friday will mark 16 years since starting If you appreciate all of the work I've relentlessly invested in Phoronix content and benchmarking over the years, you can show your support with this birthday special. Thanks for the support or at least following on Facebook and Twitter.

Of the 250+ original news items for last month, the most popular articles included:

Linus Torvalds Switches To AMD Ryzen Threadripper After 15 Years Of Intel Systems
An interesting anecdote shared in today's Linux 5.7-rc7 announcement is word that Linux and Git creator Linus Torvalds switched his main rig over to an AMD Ryzen Threadripper.

Deleting A Few Lines Of Code Can Yield "Significant" Power Savings On Some Linux Systems
A patch slated to be merged for the Linux 5.8 kernel cycle next month that simply deletes ten lines of code (well, six lines of code and four lines of comments) will for some systems yield "significant power savings" due to an oversight in the kernel code that has lasted for about twelve years.

Linux 5.8 Set To Optionally Flush The L1d Cache On Context Switch To Increase Security
The Linux kernel patches that have been spearheaded by Amazon AWS engineers to optionally flush the L1 data cache on each context switch have now been queued in the x86/mm branch ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel cycle.

Microsoft Announces Direct3D 12 For Linux / WSL2
As part of bringing GPU acceleration to WSL2 that was announced at today's virtual Build conference, Microsoft just published a blog post with more details including their port of Direct3D 12 for Linux.

Thanks Oracle! New Patches Pending Can Reduce Linux Boot Times Up To ~49%
While many don't look upon Oracle's open-source software contributions too eagerly, some new patches out by their team can dramatically benefit Linux kernel boot times and they are working on getting it upstream. The numbers are already very promising and further work is also underway to make the improvement even more tantalizing.

Microsoft President Brad Smith Acknowledges They Were Previously Wrong On Open-Source
While Microsoft executives in past years have called open-source/Linux a "cancer" and other FUD, current President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, acknowledges they were wrong in those past remarks.

The Linux Kernel Deprecates The 80 Character Line Coding Style
The Linux kernel has officially deprecated its coding style that the length of lines of code comply with 80 columns as the "strong preferred limit".

AMD Rethinks Decision And Will Open-Source Most Of Radeon Rays 4.0
Two days ago as part of the GPUOpen relaunch AMD released Radeon Rays 4.0 as their ray intersection library. Unlike the previous Radeon Rays release, however, this new Vulkan-enabled version was not open-source. But now AMD has decided that at least in large part it will be going back to open-source.

Microsoft Is Writing Its Own Wayland Compositor As Part Of WSL2 GUI Efforts
Microsoft is working on its own Wayland compositor derived from the Weston code-base.

Mainlining The Microsoft DirectX Kernel Driver For Linux Will Be An Uphill Battle
On Tuesday was the big announcement of Microsoft bringing Direct3D 12 to Linux/WSL2 in the context of allowing GUI applications and GPU compute within Windows Subsystem for Linux. This also means OpenCL/OpenGL/Vulkan support by ultimately converting it into D3D12 consumption by the host Windows system. While Microsoft was quick to post patches for their "dxgkrnl" kernel driver for this Direct3D implementation, it's already facing resistance and will be an uphill battle for it to be mainlined.

Upstream Linux Developers Against "-O3" Optimizing The Kernel
The upstream Linux kernel developers have come out against a proposal to begin using the "-O3" optimization level when compiling the open-source code-base with the GCC 10 compiler or newer.

Radeon Rays 4.0 Released - Adds Vulkan While Dropping OpenCL, No Longer Open-Source
Continuing with AMD's relaunch of GPUOpen and introducing new software releases all week, out this morning is Radeon Rays 4.0. It takes another step forward while taking a step back in terms of no longer being open-source.

LibreOffice 7.0 Alpha 1 Released With Its Skia + Vulkan Rendering
The first alpha release of LibreOffice 7.0 is out this week for testing ahead of the planned official release of this big open-source office suite update in August.

LibreOffice On Windows Will Now Hard Require Clang For Performance Reasons
Last month we reported on LibreOffice now preferring its new rendering code be built with LLVM Clang over alternative compilers. When falling back to CPU-based software rasterization, the Clang-generated code performs much better than alternative compilers given Google's own emphasis with Skia on being Clang-focused. LibreOffice 7.0 is now beginning a hard requirement on Clang when building for Windows.

Microsoft And A KDE Project Spar Over "MAUI"
A few years ago it was GNOME developers frustrated with Microsoft over naming a project GVFS (later renamed to Virtual File System for Git) as it collided with their GVFS (GNOME Virtual File-System) while now there is a similar situation brewing between Microsoft and KDE camps.

100+ Linux Benchmarks Between The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U vs. Intel Core i7 1065G7
This week I began benchmarking the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U on Linux using the new Lenovo IdeaPad featuring this new Zen 2 "Renoir" APU. The initial CPU benchmarks were quite positive as were the Vega graphics comparison tests. Amid other follow-up articles for AMD Renoir Linux support/performance, for your weekend viewing pleasure are a large set of data points between the Ryzen 7 4700U up against the Intel Core i7 1065G7 "Ice Lake" processor.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 Released To Phase Out Python 2, GCC7 As Base Compiler
OpenIndiana, the open-source operating system built off Illumos and the former open-source Solaris code, is out with version 2020.04 as its newest feature release.

Intel Preparing Platform Monitoring Technology - Hardware Telemetry With Tiger Lake
Intel developers are working on a new Linux feature and technology called "Intel Platform Monitoring Technology" as amounting to a hardware telemetry framework that can also be used by other hardware vendors. This appears to be a new feature Intel will be supporting on the hardware side starting with Tiger Lake.

Valve Updates Steam Survey Data For April With A Slight Linux Increase
Valve has published their Steam Survey results for April, which is the first full month where the US and still much of the world has been in lockdown over the coronavirus, and thus interesting to see how it has impacted the gamer metrics.

NVIDIA Gets Into Open-Source Hardware With A Ventilator Design
While waiting to see what NVIDIA will be doing on the open-source driver front that has been pushed back, NVIDIA made a surprise open-source announcement today.

And the featured articles:

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Linux Performance On The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
While most of you are well aware how Linux often slaughters Microsoft Windows performance on high-end desktop and platform servers with large core counts, on smaller systems it can be a different story and often comes down to the particular workloads and any peculiarities of the hardware under test. With recently buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (14) for our AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarking, here are some benchmarks for how that Zen 2 laptop is comparing with different workloads between Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Initial AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux Performance Is Very Good
Since AMD Renoir laptops began shipping some weeks ago, I've been on the hunt for an interesting laptop to pick up for Linux testing and to potentially even use as my next main production laptop. Given the successes of AMD Zen 2 on the desktop and server front, I've been very eager to try out a Renoir laptop and last week picked up a Lenovo IdeaPad with Ryzen 7 4700U and the experience so far has been very good and with captivating Linux performance.

100+ Benchmarks Of Amazon's Graviton2 64-Core CPU Against AMD's EPYC 7742
Last week Amazon AWS promoted their Graviton2 instances to general availability status with a variety of different sized EC2 instances as well as a bare metal instance for tapping the full potential of their new SoC that features 64 Arm Neoverse N1 cores. Last week we ran through many benchmarks looking at Graviton2 on EC2 and bare metal performance while here is a follow-up article with more benchmarks and looking at how the sixty-four core Arm Graviton2 compares to AMD's EPYC 7742 64-core CPU with and without SMT.

Pop!_OS 20.04 vs. Ubuntu 20.04 Linux Performance
A Phoronix Premium reader recently asked about whether Pop!_OS 20.04 performance differs from Ubuntu 20.04 given some underlying changes made by System76 to their distribution, besides the plethora of higher-level desktop improvements. Well, here are some benchmarks.

Benchmarking Amazon's Graviton2 Performance With 64 Neoverse N1 Cores Against Intel Xeon, AMD EPYC
This week Amazon announced the general availability of their EC2 "M6g" instances powered by their second-generation Graviton processors. Amazon is offering a variety of M6g instances with the Graviton2 CPU, including a bare metal instance. In this article are many benchmarks looking at the various Amazon EC2 M6g instances compared to other EC2 Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC instances as well as looking at the M6g Graviton2 metal performance up against various Intel/AMD CPUs in our lab.

8-Way Spring 2020 Linux Distribution Performance Comparison With 240+ Benchmarks
Given the recent releases of Fedora 32, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Manjaro 20.0, and others, here is a fresh eight-way Linux distribution benchmark comparison.

Ryzen 9 3900X/3950X vs. Core i9 10900K In 380+ Benchmarks
Following our initial Core i5 10600K and Core i9 10900K Linux benchmarks last week, here is a much larger comparison I have been working on since then in looking specifically at the Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X against the Core i9 10900K. It's the largest to date with nearly 400 benchmarks being tested, most of them real-world test cases.

AMD Ryzen 3 3100 + Ryzen 3 3300X Offering Great Budget Linux CPU Performance
At the end of April AMD announced the Ryzen 3 3100 + Ryzen 3 3300X and these Zen 2 budget processors are now shipping. Here are our initial benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X processors running on Ubuntu Linux compared to an assortment of old and new Intel/AMD CPUs with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Intel Core i5 10600K + Core i9 10900K
Intel announced at the end of April the 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" S-Series CPUs with the Core i9 10900K being their new top-end processor with a 10 core / 20 thread processor that can clock up to 5.3GHz. The Comet Lake S-Series desktop CPUs are now shipping and this morning the embargo lifts in being able to publish the benchmarks. Here is how the Intel Core i5 10500K and Core i9 10900K processors are performing on Linux from Steam on Linux gaming to various interesting real-world workloads.

AMD Renoir Graphics Beating Out Intel Icelake/Gen11 On Linux
Earlier this week I provided the first Linux benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Zen 2 mobile processor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and running within a Lenovo IdeaPad 5 (14). That initial article was focused on the CPU performance while for your viewing pleasure today are some preliminary benchmark numbers for the Vega 7 graphics up against Intel Gen11/Icelake.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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